Happy Saturday, everyone! I cannot believe we’re already in the second week of May. I just feel like I’m blinking and time is getting away from me!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I just got back from Florida! I had a wonderful time in the happiest place on Earth – Disney World! I also visited Universal Studios.

Today I’m bringing you 25 new middle grade May 2019 releases that all look fantastic! These are perfect for teachers, your children or if you’re like me and just love reading middle grade books!

May 7th

The Doughnut King by Jessie Janowitz - The Contented ReaderSuperfudge meets The Lemonade War in the second book of this charming, funny, and heartwarming series about growing up, family, change, and as always, doughnuts. 

Tris Levin thought moving from New York City to middle-of-nowhere Petersville meant life would definitely get worse…only it actually got better. But just when things are looking up, problems start rolling in.

His doughnut business has a major supply issue. And that’s not the worst part, Petersville has its own supply problem, it doesn’t have enough people. Folks keep moving away and if they can’t get people to stay, Petersville may disappear.

Petersville needs to become a tourist destination, and his shop could be a big part of it, if Tris can keep up with demand. There’s only one solution: The Belshaw Donut Robot. If Tris can win “Can You Cut It,” the cutthroat competitive kids’ cooking show, he can get the cash to buy the machine. But even with the whole town training and supporting him, Tris isn’t sure he can live with what it takes to takes to win.

Stu Truly First Kiss by Dan Richards - The Contented ReaderStu Truly has his summer all planned out, and he’s anxious to spend time with Becca, the girl who makes his palms sweat and his stomach turn. Will Stu’s crush turn into something more?

It’s the summer before eighth grade, and Stu Truly is enjoying the start of his vacation! His plans consist of playing video games, hanging out with his friends, and, more importantly, hanging out with Becca. But when Stu has a daydream of kissing Becca, he panics. He isn’t even sure if he’s actually going out with Becca. Sure, they’ve held hands a couple of times, but that doesn’t mean they’re going out, does it?

When Stu’s grandma breaks her hip, his plans are put on hold. Now, he has to help out at her store, Truly Fine Fashions. Unfortunately for Stu, it’s a women’s clothing store. So he has to balance his summer job and spending time with Becca.

This is a hilarious and heartwarming follow-up to the contemporary middle grade novel Stu Truly. Will Stu get his first kiss from the girl who stole his heart?

A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry - The Contented ReaderThis gripping novel about survival and family is based on the real story of one wolf’s incredible journey to find a safe place to call home. Illustrated throughout, this irresistible tale by award-winning author Rosanne Parry is for fans of Sara Pennypacker’sPax and Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan. 

Swift, a young wolf cub, lives with his pack in the mountains learning to hunt, competing with his brothers and sisters for hierarchy, and watching over a new litter of cubs. Then a rival pack attacks, and Swift and his family scatter.

Alone and scared, Swift must flee and find a new home. His journey takes him a remarkable one thousand miles across the Pacific Northwest. The trip is full of peril, and Swift encounters forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before he finds his new home.

Inspired by the extraordinary true story of a wolf named OR-7 (or Journey), this irresistible tale of survival invites readers to experience and imagine what it would be like to be one of the most misunderstood animals on earth. This gripping and appealing novel about family, courage, loyalty, and the natural world is for fans of Fred Gipson’s Old Yeller and Katherine Applegate’s Endling.

The Startup Squad by Brian Weisfeld - The Contented ReaderGirls mean business in a brand-new middle grade series about friendship and entrepreneurship!

All the great leaders had to start somewhere. And Theresa (“Resa” for short) is starting with the lemonade stand competition her teacher assigned to the class—but making it a success is going to be a lot harder than Resa thinks.

The prize: line-skipping tickets to Adventure Central. The competition: Val, Resa’s middle school nemesis. And the biggest obstacle to success: Resa’s own teammates. Harriet is the class clown, Amelia is the new girl who thinks she knows best, and Didi is Resa’s steadfast friend—who doesn’t know the first thing about making or selling lemonade. The four of them quickly realize that the recipe for success is tough to perfect—but listening to each other is the first step. And making new friends might be the most important one…

The Absence of Sparrows by Kurt Kirchmeier - The Contented ReaderStranger Things meets Alfred Hitchcock in this haunting coming-of-age novel about a plague that brings the world to a halt, and one boy’s belief that his town’s missing sparrows can save his family.

In the small town of Griever’s Mill, eleven-year-old Ben Cameron is expecting to finish off his summer of relaxing and bird-watching without a hitch. But everything goes wrong when dark clouds roll in.

Old Man Crandall is the first to change–human one minute and a glass statue the next. Soon it’s happening across the world. Dark clouds fill the sky, and, at random, people turn into frozen versions of themselves. There’s nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no one knows how to stop it.

With his mom on the verge of a breakdown, and his brother intent on following the dubious plans put forth by a nameless voice on the radio, Ben must hold out hope that his town’s missing sparrows will return with everyone’s souls before the glass plague takes them away forever. 

Hurricane Season by Nicole Melleby - The Contented ReaderThis debut novel—about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about growing up and coming out—will make its way straight into your heart.

Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.

Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.

Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a stunning novel about a girl struggling to be a kid as pressing adult concerns weigh on her. It’s also about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about coming of age and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story of the healing power of love—and the limits of that power.

Up for Air by Laurie Morrison - The Contented ReaderThirteen-year-old Annabelle struggles in school, no matter how hard she tries. But as soon as she dives into the pool, she’s unstoppable. She’s the fastest girl on the middle school swim team, and when she’s asked to join the high school team over the summer, everything changes. Suddenly, she’s got new friends, and a high school boy starts treating her like she’s somebody special—and Annabelle thinks she’ll finally stand out in a good way. She’ll do anything to fit in and help the team make it to the Labor Day Invitational, even if it means blowing off her old friends. But after a prank goes wrong, Annabelle is abandoned by the older boy and can’t swim. Who is she without the one thing she’s good at? Heartwarming and relatable, Up for Air is a story about where we find our self-worth.

Super Jake and the King of Chaos by Naomi Milliner - The Contented ReaderA debut contemporary novel about 11-year-old aspiring magician Ethan, who discovers that heroes come in all sizes, and real magic can be found in the most unexpected places.

When life revolves around stressed-out parents and ER visits for his special needs little brother Jake, eleven-year-old Ethan escapes to a world of top hats, trick decks, and magic wands. When he hears of a junior magic competition where the top prize is to meet and perform with his hero, Magnus the Magnificent, Ethan is determined to do whatever he needs to get there–and to win.

His dedication and hard work pay off, and he makes it to the top five finalists: his dream really could come true! Then Jake falls dangerously ill and Ethan’s hopes and plans are in jeopardy. As he searches for any sort of magic that might save Jake, Ethan learns what is truly important . . . and what real magic is.

Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt - The Contented ReaderFrom the author of the New York Times bestseller Fish in a Tree comes a compelling story about perspective and learning to love the family you have.

Delsie loves tracking the weather–lately, though, it seems the squalls are in her own life. She’s always lived with her kindhearted Grammy, but now she’s looking at their life with new eyes and wishing she could have a “regular family.” Delsie observes other changes in the air, too–the most painful being a friend who’s outgrown her. Luckily, she has neighbors with strong shoulders to support her, and Ronan, a new friend who is caring and courageous but also troubled by the losses he’s endured. As Ronan and Delsie traipse around Cape Cod on their adventures, they both learn what it means to be angry versus sad, broken versus whole, and abandoned versus loved. And that, together, they can weather any storm.

Just South of Home by Karen Strong - The Contented ReaderCousins Sarah and Janie unearth a tragic event in their small Southern town’s history in this witty middle grade debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Stella by Starlight, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, and As Brave as You.

Twelve-year-old Sarah is finally in charge. At last, she can spend her summer months reading her favorite science books and bossing around her younger brother, Ellis, instead of being worked to the bone by their overly strict grandmother, Mrs. Greene. But when their cousin, Janie arrives for a visit, Sarah’s plans are completely squashed.

Janie has a knack for getting into trouble and asks Sarah to take her to Creek Church: a landmark of their small town that she heard was haunted. It’s also off-limits. Janie’s sticky fingers lead Sarah, Ellis and his best friend, Jasper, to uncover a deep-seated part of the town’s past. With a bit of luck, this foursome will heal the place they call home and the people within it they call family.

Finding Orion by John David Anderson - The Contented ReaderRion Kwirk comes from a rather odd family. His mother named him and his sisters after her favorite constellations, and his father makes funky-flavored jelly beans for a living. One sister acts as if she’s always onstage and the other is a walking dictionary. But no one in the family is more odd than Rion’s grandfather, Papa Kwirk. He’s the kind of guy who shows up on his motorcycle only on holidays, handing out crossbows and stuffed squirrels as presents. Rion has always been fascinated by Papa Kwirk, especially since his son—Rion’s father—is the complete opposite. Where Dad is predictable, nerdy, and reassuringly boring, Papa Kwirk is mysterious, dangerous, and cool.

Which is why, when Rion and his family learn of Papa Kwirk’s death and pile into the car to attend his funeral and pay their respects, Rion can’t help but feel that that’s not the end of his story. That there’s so much more to Papa Kwirk to discover.

He doesn’t know how right he is.

May 14th

The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby - The Contented ReaderIt was only a few weeks ago that the Biedermann twins, Tess and Theo, along with their friend Jaime Cruz, followed the secrets of the Morningstarrs’ cipher further anyone had in its century-and-a-half history—and destroyed their beloved home in the process. But the Old York Cipher still isn’t solved. The demolition of 354 W. 73rd Street only revealed the next clue in the greatest mystery of the modern world, and if Tess, Theo, and Jaime want to discover what lies at the end of the puzzle laid into the buildings of New York by its brilliant, enigmatic architects, they will need to press on.

But doing so could prove even more dangerous than they know. It is clear that the Morningstarr twins marshaled all the strange technology they had spent their lives creating in the construction of the Cipher, and that technology has its own plans for those who pursue it. It is also clear that Tess, Theo, and Jaime are not the only ones on the trail of the treasure. As enemies both known and unknown close in on them from all sides and the very foundations of the city seem to crumble around them, they will have to ask themselves how far they will go to change the unchangeable—and whether the price of knowing the secrets of the Morningstarrs is one they are willing to pay.

Odd Gods by David Slavin and Daniel Weitzman - The Contented ReaderDiary of Wimpy Kid meets Percy Jackson in Odd Gods, a new three-book, highly illustrated, paper-over-board middle grade series about the most unlikely, unusual Gods ever to grace the halls of Mount Olympus Middle School.

Oddonis may be the son of Zeus, but he’s a little bit . . . odd for a God. He’s so odd, in fact, he’s not sure if he has any powers at all. And if that isn’t bad enough, his twin brother, Adonis, is everything Oddonis isn’t. He’s the most popular, most athletic, and most otherworldly-handsome God of them all. Even if Oddonis is just starting Mount Olympus Middle, his future isn’t looking bright, not after he makes the last-minute decision to run against Adonis to be class president. Losing to his own brother by a landslide is not how Oddonis wants to start sixth grade. So with the help of his friends Mathena (Goddess of math and, yes, poultry), Germes (God of all things sniffling and snotty), Gaseous (enough said?) and Puneous (the smallest God of them all), Oddonis hatches a plan to win the race, prove that the Odds are just as good as the Gods, and maybe, just maybe, find out what his true powers really are.

Read the hilarious new adventures of Oddonis and his friends from debut children’s authors David Slavin and Daniel Weitzman, filled with dozens of black-and-white illustrations by award-winning artist Adam Lane.

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai - The Contented ReaderA poignant, laugh-out-loud illustrated middle-grade novel about an eleven-year-old boy’s immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks!

Sometimes life isn’t a piece of cake . . . 

When Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao.

To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama.

In her hilarious, emotional middle-grade debut, Remy Lai delivers a scrumptious combination of vibrant graphic art and pitch-perfect writing that will appeal to fans of Real Friends.

Planet Earth is Blue by Nicole Panteleakos - The Contented ReaderA heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration, for fans of See You in the Cosmos, Mockingbird, and The Thing About Jellyfish.

Twelve-year-old Nova is eagerly awaiting the launch of the space shuttle Challenger–it’s the first time a teacher is going into space, and kids across America will watch the event on live TV in their classrooms. Nova and her big sister, Bridget, share a love of astronomy and the space program. They planned to watch the launch together. But Bridget has disappeared, and Nova is in a new foster home.

While foster families and teachers dismiss Nova as severely autistic and nonverbal, Bridget understands how intelligent and special Nova is, and all that she can’t express. As the liftoff draws closer, Nova’s new foster family and teachers begin to see her potential, and for the first time, she is making friends without Bridget. But every day, she’s counting down to the launch, and to the moment when she’ll see Bridget again. Because Bridget said, “No matter what, I’ll be there. I promise.”

Spark by Sarah Beth Durst - The Contented ReaderWhen a shy girl and her dragon-like companion discover their country’s idyllic weather comes at a steep—and secret—cost, they recruit fellow students to defy authority and attempt to spread the truth.

Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creature of fire and chaos—everyone’s certain it’s a mistake. Everyone but Mina and the beast himself, Pixit. Quickly enrolled in lightning school, Mina struggles to master a guardian’s skills, and she discovers that her country’s weather comes at a devastating cost—a cost powerful people wish to hide. Mina’s never been the type to speak out, but someone has to tell the truth, and, with Pixit’s help, she resolves to find a way to be heard.

May 21st

Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship by Cynthia Platt - The Contented ReaderIn this fun young-middle-grade novel with STEM appeal, Parker really wants to win the school Science Triathlon—but first she’ll have to figure out how to keep her BFF from being stolen.

Budding scientist Parker Bell really wants to win the school Science Triathlon and follow in the footsteps of her idols, chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall and astronaut Mae Jemison. She’s sure that if she teams up with her trivia whiz BFF, Cassie, they will dominate the Science Bee, Egg Drop, and Animal Adaptation Presentation. When Cassie invites her new friend, Theo, to join their team, Parker is worried—that Theo won’t help them win and might steal her best friend. As the three work together, Parker learns that you don’t have to be the best to be a real scientist and a good friend.

Camp Shady Crook by Lee Gjertsen Malone - The Contented ReaderIt’s Ocean’s Eleven set in a summer camp as two kids try to one-up each other in a con competition at a camp that isn’t quite what it seems…

For Archie, the start of summer means another stint at Camp Shady Brook, where there is a lot more to the camp than meets the eye—just like Archie and his now blended family. But thanks to a con Archie developed last year, he’s finally somebody…and he’s not going to lose that status to the new girl, Vivian.

For Vivian, thanks to an incident That Shall Not Be Named or Spoken Of, her summer of exotic travels with Mom and Dad has turned into traveling to a dump of a summer camp in the middle of nowhere.

But thanks to perfect timing, Vivian soon finds herself in a ring of kids trying to out-con each other—and discovers Camp Shady Brook is more like Camp Shady Crook. And when one final, massive con could cost Vivian the first friends she’s had in a while, can she and Archie figure out a way to make things right?

May 28th

Solving for M by Jennifer Swender - The Contented ReaderPerfect for fans of Raymie Nightingale and The Fourteenth Goldfishthis heartfelt middle-grade novel seamlessly melds STEAM content with first loss in an honest and striking debut. 

When Mika starts fifth grade at the middle school, her neat life gets messy. Separated from old friends and starting new classes, Mika is far from her comfort zone. And math class is the most confusing of all, especially when her teacher Mr. Vann assigns math journals. Art in math? Who’s ever heard of such a thing?

But when challenges arise at home, Mika realizes there are no easy answers. Maybe, with some help from friends, family, and one unique teacher, a math journal can help her work out problems, and not just the math ones.

Debut author Jennifer Swender delivers poignant prose and illustrator Jennifer Naalchigar brings Mika’s journal to life in this perfect equation of honesty plus hope that adds up to a heartwarming coming-of-age story.

A Box of Bones by Marina Cohen - The Contented ReaderTwelve-year-old Kallie despises nonsense. She believes there’s a rational explanation for everything, despite the good-natured prodding of her Grandpa Jess, who takes her to frivolous wastes of time like their town’s local Festival of Fools.

There, Kallie meets a faceless man (must be some kind of mask) who gives her a strange wooden puzzle box (must be some kind of gimmick). Intrigued despite herself, Kallie sets to work on unlocking its secrets and…lets something out. From here Kallie’s life begins to entangle with another world, a world where Liah, a young bone carver, journeys with her master to sell wares to a wicked Queen.

The sights, sounds, smells, and spells of Liah’s world are beginning to leak into Kallie’s, and if Kallie can’t decipher the meaning of her own story, “the end” might be far from happy.

All the Ways Home by Elsie Chapman - The Contented ReaderSometimes, home isn’t where you expect to find it.

After losing his mom in a fatal car crash, Kaede Hirano–now living with a grandfather who is more stranger than family–developed anger issues and spent his last year of middle school acting out.

Best-friendless and critically in danger repeating the seventh grade, Kaede is given a summer assignment: write an essay about what home means to him, which will be even tougher now that he’s on his way to Japan to reconnect with his estranged father and older half-brother. Still, if there’s a chance Kaede can finally build a new family from an old one, he’s willing to try. But building new relationships isn’t as easy as destroying his old ones, and one last desperate act will change the way Kaede sees everyone–including himself.

This is a book about what home means to us–and that there are many different correct answers.

The Girls of Firefly Cabin by Cynthia Ellingsen - The Contented ReaderLauren, Isla, Jade, and Archer meet the first day of summer camp, and friendship magic is made in Firefly Cabin. If only they could immortalize their summer memories by winning the contest to be the face of the camp’s website. But it won’t be easy; not with rival cabins, distracting crushes, and of course, the girl’s own secrets getting in the way. Can friendship—and the Fireflies—triumph over all?

Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh by Malayna Evans - The Contented ReaderJagger Jones is a whiz kid from Chicago’s South Side. Ask him anything about Ancient Egypt, and Jagger can fill hours describing all that he knows. But when he and his precocious little sister Aria fall more than three thousand years back in time to the court of Amarna, Egypt, Jagger discovers a truth that rocks his world: books don’t teach you everything there is to know.

Mummies, pyramids, and cool hieroglyphics make awesome movie props, but the ancient court of Amarna is full of over-sized scorpions, magical amulets, and evil deities determined to scare unwanted visitors away. If Jagger and Aria are to return safely home, they must find nine soul-infested gemstones, defeat an evil general, save the royal family, and figure out how to rescue themselves!

Armed only with Jagger’s knowledge of history and a few modern objects mined from his pockets and Aria’s sparkly purse, the siblings have exactly one week to solve supernatural riddles and rescue the royal family. If they can pull it off, Jagger Jones just might return to Chicago a hero.

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga - The Contented ReaderI am learning how to be
sad
and happy
at the same time.

Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

May 30th

The Secret Dragon by E.J Clarke - The Contented ReaderHow To Train Your Dragon meets The Indian in the Cupboard in this funny, heartfelt story of friendship, family and timeless adventure.

When would-be palaeontologist Mari finds a tiny dragon while out fossil hunting on a Welsh beach, she knows it’s a discovery that could change science – and her life – forever.

Mari wants to make a scientific study of the baby reptile that will astound the world. But this dragon doesn’t want to be studied, it wants to be free. And although it may only be pocket sized, it has a giant appetite for mischief…

Let’s Chat in the Comments!

Which middle grade cover is your favourite? Do you want to read any of these now? Do you like to read middle grade books?

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!

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